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Women could not be surgeons. She did it anyway.
After the heartbreaking loss of her mother and a cruel attack by her drunken father, Ella Parker decides that dishonesty is fine when it serves her needs. At a time when wealthy young ladies do little more than embroidery, Ella escapes her luxurious but lonely life, and meets an eccentric ship surgeon who—once she impresses him with her quick-thinking and empathy—allows her to assist him during a surgery.
Compelled by Ella’s intelligence and interest in medicine, the doctor prepares her for a medical career, but there’s a catch: in early 19th century England, women are not accepted into universities. To fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor, Ella must disguise herself as a young man. After changing her look and name, Ella finds her footing as she performs dissections, conducts experiments, and cares for patients. She also tutors Oli, a kind but struggling fellow student, but she must take caution. Even in her loneliest moment, she cannot trust anyone or make friends.
As Ella continues to excel in her studies, brilliantly saving the life of a patient, she becomes a top contender for the apprenticeship with a famed professor. Dogged by fear of discovery, she must choose between truth and lies, and distinguish between real and false friends, before her pretense is uncovered.
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“A thrilling debut by Alina Rubin, A Girl with a Knife has just the right amount of keen historical and medical detail, alongside a riveting story of a young woman determined to follow her dreams despite the odds stacked against her by a dogmatic, narrow-minded society.” — Colin Mustful, author, historian, editor, and founder of History Through Fiction.
“This is a fascinating tale of a woman trying to use her talents and knowledge in a society which would deny them simply because of her gender. An inspiring story, and one which it is easy to believe, as we know of women throughout history who went to such lengths to fulfill their potential.”—Rebecca D’Harlingue, Paper Lantern Writer.